WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — A Twin Cities woman just walked 130 miles, from Charlottesville to the National Mall.
Her message? It's time for white Christians to step up.
"God is inviting us into this," said Melody Olson, Music and Arts Director for Awaken Community, a church in St. Paul. "He sees his children, the people of color that are literally dying, and wants us to not ignore that suffering any longer and not ignore our responsibility to do something about it."
Olson joined a group of other white clergy members from all over the country in the pilgrimage. She and 13 other people walked 13-17 miles per day for the whole nine-day journey. Others joined them for a day or two at a time, and on Friday in Washington, D.C., there were around 100 of them.
"It just feels like this moment in history, we can't pass by without stopping and talking and working," Olson said. "And so that was what I felt today in D.C., was a lot of people coming together, such a diverse group of people with strong intentions, strong emotions for sure, a lot of energy and a commitment to see this work through and to not give up."
Olson said it's especially important for white pastors and clergy to step up in this movement.
"This is what Jesus would do," she said. "And unfortunately, white Christians have been complicit and we have benefited from white supremacy for such a long time. And really, when you look at history, we are the authors of white supremacy. And so if we feel the responsibility right now to write a new story."
More information about the pilgrimage, called Walk the Walk of Racial Reckoning, Resolve and Love, can be found on the event's website.
Olson said her message to white Christians is to educate themselves about the history of racism and white supremacy, find people who are working to bring change, and join them.